Thursday, October 7, 2010

Study Hall

I have owned several copies of 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind' over the years, but have ended up giving them to other people, so I haven't read it for a while. I looked through 'Not Always So' in advance of the Beginners' Sitting a couple of months ago, and enjoyed hearing Suzuki Roshi's distinctive voice again, so after finishing with 'Taking Our Places', I decided to drop back in to 'Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness', which still has in it notes and bookmarks from my first Practice Period at Tassajara eight years ago, and which I have probably read twice since then. Again, I appreciate reading the way that Suzuki Roshi approached things for the audience he had - the tone of this is more advanced than the other two books, since they were talks given at Tassajara, but his way of expressing himself is not actually different. Here is a passage I liked because it seems he is explaining reality in the same way that Shohaku Okamura did in 'Realizing Genjo Koan':
" 'Grasping at things' means to stick to the many things you see. Understanding that each being is different, you see each one as something special, and usually then you will stick to something. Yet even if you recognize the truth that everything is one, that is not always enlightenment. It may be enlightenment, but not always. It is just intellectual understanding. An enlightened person does not ignore things and does not stick to things, not even to the truth. There is no truth that is different from what each being is. Each being is itself the truth. You may think that there is some truth that is controlling each being. This truth, you may think, is like the truth of gravitation. If the apple is each being, then behind the apple is some truth working on the apple, like gravitation. To understand things in that way is not enlightenment. To stick to beings, ideas, even Buddha's teaching, saying 'Buddha's teaching is something like this'  is to stick to ji [the phenomenal, as opposed to ri, the noumenal]. This is the backbone of the Sandokai".

3 comments:

Linda Atkins said...

Hi, Shundo. I am reading ZMBM for the very first time right now! (After owning it for probably 15 years.) My favorite line: "That is why we should always address ourselves, checking up on ourselves like a doctor tapping himself." The part that has been the most helpful: "When you are sitting in the middle of your own problem, which is more real to you, your problem or you yourself? The awareness that you are here, right now, is the ultimate fact."

Sierra said...

I love that these study halls are over my head. I'm not sure I totally understand him but I liked this part: "You may think that there is some truth that is controlling each being. This truth, you may think, is like the truth of gravitation. If the apple is each being, then behind the apple is some truth working on the apple, like gravitation. To understand things in that way is not enlightenment. To stick to beings, ideas, even Buddha's teaching, saying 'Buddha's teaching is something like this' is to stick to ji [the phenomenal, as opposed to ri, the noumenal]. "

Shundo said...

Just keep reading them Sierra, and your understanding will grow each time.